Accessibility statement

Frequently asked questions for 2020 offer-holders

This information is all specific to the Department of Music. It outlines our current plans for the autumn term and beyond. These are provisional – if the wider situation changes, our response may change too – but we are hopeful that we’ll be able to carry them out. You can find more general information about the University’s plans for the autumn at https://coronavirus.york.ac.uk/for-prospective-students.

I’m worried about my upcoming results. What happens if I don’t meet my grades?

We always encourage students to check UCAS Track first if you don't meet your grades, as it may be that we are able to accept some applicants who have narrowly missed our offer.  In the current circumstances we will try to be as flexible as we can be and will take your whole application into account, not just your achieved grades.

How will I be taught in the autumn term?

We anticipate that most students will be able to return to campus in the autumn term, although social distancing restrictions will likely remain in place. The Music course contains very few traditional ‘lectures’, since it is based around small-group, highly interactive teaching. This means that we are well-placed to adapt our teaching methods to social distancing restrictions. We expect that most of our module teaching will use a combination of online materials and in-person discussion. For example, one teaching session (the equivalent of a morning’s teaching) might involve:

  • A short video prepared by your lecturer coupled with some materials to read and listen to in your own time, as a way of introducing a specific topic;
  • A series of tasks for you to complete in collaboration with other students – either online or in person – as a way of developing your understanding;
  • A small-group seminar discussion, where you can explore the ideas that emerge from these activities in more depth with your lecturer. These discussions will take place both in-person (adhering to social distancing guidelines) and online via Zoom or other video-conferencing software, so you will still be able to take part even if you cannot physically be on campus for some reason.

We are introducing this ‘blended’ approach to learning (combining online with in-person activities) in response to the current situation, however it also has its own advantages: many students have found in this last term that it is really helpful to have teaching materials available online in this way. It allows you to work through them at your own pace and really get the most out of the tasks and discussions that follow.

Will ensembles have to be cancelled?

We plan to continue running all of our major staff-led ensembles (which are all listed on the Department web pages) in some form. Obviously, some of these ensembles will need to change to be feasible under the restrictions in place at any given point in the year. When social distancing is necessary, we will use a combination of online rehearsals and in-person sessions based on smaller groupings. We are working carefully to map out the best ways of adapting our dedicated Departmental spaces, so that we can do as much live work as possible whilst maintaining a safe environment for all.

What about instrumental lessons?

We will continue to offer instrumental lessons to all BA Music students according to our usual policy; teaching methods will be flexible to accommodate the needs and wishes of individual teachers and students (always in accordance with current guidelines). We expect that some lessons will happen in-person, within suitably large spaces; others will happen online. Our team of specialist instrumental teachers have quickly become experts in a variety of online teaching methods and we will make sure they have the necessary setup for high-quality sound.

Will studio spaces be available?

We expect our studios to be available but with social distancing and strict hygiene measures in place. Priority will be given to those students with assessments that require studio use.

What will happen to the Practical Project?

We are justly proud of our annual Practical Project, which brings students from all years together in producing a professional performance within the first six weeks of term. We need this kind of experience this year more than ever, so our plan is that Practical Project will continue to run this autumn. The show must go on! This year’s theme is currently still under wraps (watch this space!), however we have devised it to be feasible whatever situation we find ourselves in come autumn. It will still offer first-years an opportunity to get to know students from across the Department, to explore their creative strengths and to put together a production to be proud of.

How will I make friends in the Department if social distancing continues to be in place?

We hope that it’s clear from the information above that there will still be a lot of opportunities for students to interact with one another, make new friends and enjoy making music together even if restrictions continue or escalate. Over the summer term we’ve worked hard to maintain our strong sense of community as a department, through social events, shared online performances and spaces for students to come together on social media. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that incoming students feel welcome and part of a flourishing community, whatever life looks like by the autumn.

What happens if lockdown restrictions are relaxed by the autumn? Will it be too late to change your approach to teaching?

The approach we have outlined above is flexible. If restrictions are lifted further, we will be able to increase the amount of in-person work we are able to do, without losing the benefits we get from incorporating online elements into our teaching. We will keep monitoring the situation and responding as it changes.